Letters from the West

Idaho releases gas production data, but oil numbers remain secret until 2017

AM Idaho's Willow Creek storage and dehydration facility serves seven of eight active wells in the surrounding area that produce oil, gas and other liquid petroleum products.
AM Idaho's Willow Creek storage and dehydration facility serves seven of eight active wells in the surrounding area that produce oil, gas and other liquid petroleum products. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Idaho produced 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the past year, about enough to heat 25,000 homes, a new report from the Idaho Department of Lands says.

$70,559Amount paid by gas producer Alta Mesa Idaho in gross severance tax in one-year period

The numbers were released late Thursday by the Idaho Department of Lands. Idaho law requires the state to release production data six months after the producer — Alta Mesa Idaho, in this case — releases the data to the state. Idaho regulators plan to get the data sooner, but also plan to ask the Idaho Legislature to keep the production data secret for a year. Companies are reluctant to release their production data because it can help competitors.

The data released this week covers five wells, bringing to six the total number of wells with publicly available production information. Noticeably absent is production data from Idaho’s one known oil well, the information for which won’t become public until spring.

The data cover July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.

During that period, Alta Mesa reported paying more than $70,000 in gross severance tax (2.5 percent). For the month of August, it reported paying $57,739 alone. For July and August, it paid $66,917, almost as much as it paid for all of July 2015-June 2016.

In addition to natural gas, Alta Mesa also produced 81,000 barrels of condensate, propane, butane, pentane and heavier hydrocarbons (which begin as gas and transform into a liquid as they rise to the well head or run through the pipeline and other equipment). It also produced another 88,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, including ethane, propane, butane, isobutane and pentane in liquid form.

The liquids, condensate and the oil come from the Willow field, which has five wells producing an average of 7.5 million cubic feet of gas per day, 242 barrels of condensate per day and 263 barrels of natural gas liquids per day. The Willow Field also has the oil well and another producing well.

The Hamilton Field has a single well that produced a total of 7.7 million cubic feet of gas over the same 12 months.

Other wells are listed as awaiting pipelines and are not reporting production data.

Idaho is the 31st state that is producing oil and gas.

Rocky Barker: 208-377-6484, @RockyBarker

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